how to start a club at your school
advice from experienced club leaders
written by Nick Daniel
So you want to start a Letters of Love club at your school? Letters of Love Global has all the info you could need to make the dream a reality.
Anyone who is interested in starting a club at their school can email Letters of Love and will be sent a PDF with detailed instructions and guidance. Letters of Love Global will even cover the initial expenses for starting a new club.
Some of the preliminary steps of starting a club are creating an executive board, planning monthly meetings and creating social media accounts. Once the club itself is founded, much of the club’s success will rely on leadership skills that only come with experience; don’t be intimidated if running the club seems difficult at first!
There are resources available to help with any trials and tribulations new club leaders may face. Anyone who starts a club at their school will be connected with someone on the Letters of Love Club Communications team who will be able to answer questions and provide guidance.
There are a lot of questions that a new club president might have: how can I get people to join the club? How do I keep people engaged and showing up to meetings? What should a club meeting look like? Fortunately, many club leaders have come before and can lend advice based on their own experiences.
Letters of Love founder and CEO Grace Berbig’s advice is simple. Keep the club fun!
Sometimes volunteering and filling out paperwork and hours “can feel like a chore,” Berbig said, “and that shouldn’t be what volunteering is; you should feel good doing it.”
She attributes the success of the club to its atmosphere: “I always wanted it to be such a welcoming and fun thing for kids to come do.” Berbig said she would bring a record player and a waffle maker to meetings at Orono High School. Hearing the music and laughter from the hallway, people who weren’t even part of the club would come by and join.
Campbell Ryall, club president at Mound Westonka High School, emphasized Letters of Love’s ability to bring the community together.
This past school year, the Westonka community lost a freshman following a cardiac episode. Letters of Love gave the community a platform to come together and support his family. At the first meeting after the tragedy, attendance doubled.
You shouldn’t expect tragedy in your community when starting a Letters of Love club, Ryall said, but finding ways to bring the community together is always important. The Westonka club has also found success collaborating with other clubs at the school for events beyond card-making, like blanket making and Easter basket making.
However, Ryall said, events are only successful when people attend. Getting the message out about meetings and events is just as important as the events are themselves. Word of mouth, school announcements, social media, and emails from school activities directors are all effective ways of promoting the club, said Ryall.
Lucas Cates founded the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Letters of Love club this past school year. He said at first it was mainly friends of the executive board that came to meetings but the club grew exponentially from there.
One of the main ways the executive board promoted the club was by connecting with existing student groups that were looking for opportunities for service hours like Greek life and pre-professional clubs. Cates said he keeps the meetings fun and engaging by putting prompts on the board in the room, i.e. ‘make a card about an animal,’ or ‘make a card about a superhero.’ Sometimes people need an idea to get started, and Cates said it’s also fun to compare cards and see the creativity different people bring to the same idea.
Running the club has also been a fulfilling personal project, Cates said. Letters of Love is “an opportunity to have creative freedom to do good,” Cates said, it’s an opportunity to “incorporate something of your own into something bigger than yourself.”
Cates also recommends surrounding yourself with a good executive board and delegating responsibility to them as well.